'American Idol' Shocker: Why Was Colton Dixon Eliminated?
'American Idol' Shocker: Why Was Colton Dixon Eliminated?
John Kubicek
John Kubicek
Senior Writer, BuddyTV
One week after the American Idol judges used their Save on Jessica Sanchez, viewers were treated to another shocking outcome. Only this time, there was no reprieve.

In a surprise twist, Colton Dixon found himself in the Bottom 3 for the first time all season, and then, even more surprisingly, he was eliminated.

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He was joined in the bottom by Elise Testone and Hollie Cavanagh, no big surprise as both have made several appearances in the bottom. Elise has actually found herself there five out of seven times.

So what happened? When the Top 13 was first revealed, I predicted that Colton Dixon would win the entire thing. He seemed to have everything. He knew exactly what kind of artist he was and he was cute enough for teen girls to get excited and power vote to save him. He also went from never being in danger to the very bottom, which is unusual since you'd think voting patterns would remain rather similar from week to week.

To try and explain it, here are four possible reasons Colton Dixon was eliminated on American Idol.

He Performed Second

For the second week in a row, Colton Dixon was stuck performing second. That might not seem too bad, but it is. Elise Testone performed second when she was the bottom girl during the Top 13 and most likely would have been eliminated if the judges didn't save her over Jeremy Rosado. And Erika Van Pelt went home when she performed second. Skylar Laine's only time in the Bottom 3 came the week she performed second. It's truly the worst spot to go in the performance order. First is OK because you're starting off the show, and last is best because it's what people remember.

It also matters because viewership of American Idol increases as the show goes on, so fewer people will get to see the earlier performances (hence situations like this week where the Bottom 3 were the first three singers to perform). It might also explain why Elise Testone is still around, because she's gotten to be the last singer to perform three times this season, while no one else has done it more than once.

The Judges Sandbagged Him

The judges were critical of Colton Dixon's performance this week despite the fact that he did basically the same thing he does every week. Meanwhile, Phillip Phillips came out with his typical growling Dave Matthews Band impression and Steven Tyler raved like a lunatic about how brilliant and unexpected his performances are. Really? Equally inexplicable was the judges' universal praise for Jessica Sanchez. She wasn't at her best this week, but the judges needed to make it look like she was great so they could justify using their Save on her.

On the flip side, it was also problematic because the judges weren't mean enough to Colton. It seems like voters always show up for whoever gets the meanest criticism from the judges. This could possibly explain Elise's safety this week despite having Jennifer Lopez go back for seconds to criticize her. It's also why Hollie avoided the Bottom 3 for the past two weeks despite being the judges' favorite punching bag (it's worth noting that, now that the judges are being nice to Hollie again, she was in the bottom). With Colton, they just kind of wished he would do better (the same comments they gave to Jessica last week), and that kind of mixed, half-praise, half-criticism does no one any good.

Too Many Performances, Not Enough Personality

American Idol should never cram 14 songs into a two-hour episode. It's just too much and it doesn't give the singers enough time to actually make a strong impression. Colton Dixon's style requires build-up and drama, and you can't do that when you're forced to condense a song into such a short amount of time.

It also hurt because I feel like Colton is much better at connecting with the audience in his backstage moments and mentoring sessions. He has a great personality and that draws people in. But with so many performances, the pre-taped segments were limited and he didn't get time to show off his personality. Meanwhile, contestants who are great singers but not particularly interesting as people benefited from this.

Bad Song Choice and Arrangement

Maybe it's the way Colton edited down Lady Gaga's "Bad Romance," but I felt like all he did was repeat the line "I want your love" about two hundred times. It was horribly repetitive. And while most people hated his total reinvention of Earth, Wind and Fire's "September," I actually thought it didn't go far enough. It was still too fast, like he was trying to squeeze more of the song into his limited time. If he slowed it down even further and brought more of his screechy, emo shouting into it, he could've made it a real moment. Instead it felt like he only did half of what he should've with it.


Whatever the reason, American Idol has lost one of its most charismatic singers and most compelling stories, which will most likely hurt the show. Let's be honest, nobody really thinks Hollie or Elise has a shot at winning. They're just like those useless players on Survivor who try to last one extra day without trying to win. Jimmy Iovine even admitted that Elise doesn't have any return fans.

The judges should stop yelling at America, ordering them to vote for the person who can sing the phone book the best. This isn't The Voice and, despite what they say, it's not about who is the best technical singer. The original subtitle for American idol was "The Search for a Superstar." That's what it should be about, finding a superstar. Colton Dixon may not be the best singer, but he's certainly more of a superstar than a lot of the remaining contestants.

Hopefully Colton Dixon will find success and be one of the many people who prove just how flawed the show is. After all, Jennifer Hudson was eliminated in seventh place, and things turned out just fine for her.


(Image courtesy of FOX)

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